Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blackout, by Mira Grant

This is the last of Ms. Grant's trilogy; I read it almost immediately after finishing the second volume, and between both books I've neglected both chores and sleep.  It was worth it.

Unfortunately there is very little I can say about this novel that won't be a spoiler.  It is a certainty that if you've read the first two volumes, you'll want to read this one.   I'll say this much:  the ending is good.

Blackout (The Newsflesh Trilogy)

Deadline (The Newsflesh Trilogy), by Mira Grant

In this sequel to "Feed," Ms. Grant has done two unusual things:  she made a second volume nearly as good as the first, and she changed the voice of the novel from (mostly) Georgia to (mostly) her brother Shaun - and pulled off the difference in tone brilliantly.

To get you up to speed, "Feed"was a post apocalyptic zombie novel that had people going about their lives just fine, albeit with some modifications to keep the nasty creatures at bay.  But there were cities and highways and jobs.  I point this out just to differentiate it from the scorched earth school of zombie books.   And it was less about zombies than it was a book with zombies in it.   Our narrator was Georgina, a journalist who worked with her brother Shaun.

In this sequel Shaun takes over as narrator as the story continues to look at why after so many years of well funded government -run research, zombie outbreaks have not abated.   This is a bit more of a zombie book than its predecessor, but it is more a story about people and how they address their situation.

I recommend it, and look forward to reading volume three.

Deadline (The Newsflesh Trilogy)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War, by Joe Bageant

This book, in spite of its odd title, should be required reading.  For liberals, so they can better appreciate how the typical working class conservative voter came to his or her perspective.  And to recognize why the average American thinks they're daft.  For conservatives, especially those in the working class, so that they can understand how it is that they are manipulated to reliably vote against their own self interest.

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Up with Lo, by Roman Hellwigi

This is a rather odd book; the main character, Lo, is the devil on earth.   Living mostly in New York, he seems to get along well, wrapping his tail around his leg beneath his suit trousers and managing to fit his hooves into normal men's shoes.   So you mostly forget about his immortality, or notice that he's not actually doing any evil deeds so much as hanging out like any other extremely wealthy New Yorker who happens to remember the past thousand years fairly well, and before that only occasionally.

As a trilogy, there are two more books to read.  I liked this one well enough, but I'm not sure if I'll bother to read the sequel.

Up with Lo (The Lo Trilogy (Book I))

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

This is a wonderful novel, certainly a candidate for my 2014 list of the "best books I've read" this year.

The story takes place in 1899.  The golem is named Chava; she was created by a dangerous rabbi who practiced Kabbalistic magic for a client who was traveling from Europe to New York.  Meanwhile, a jinni, captured by a wizard and trapped in a flask for a thousand years, also ends up in New York.   The two meet, and drama ensues.

The character development, plot, well everything about this novel is simply outstanding.

The Golem and the Jinni